Conservative support for the cross-party agreement

Conservative Ministers made clear their support for the cross party agreement on a Leveson-compliant Royal Charter for the self-regulation of the press on many occasions. Here are a selection of those firm pledges.

David Cameron (19/03/13)

“We stand here today with a cross-party agreement for a new system for press regulation. It supports our great traditions of investigative journalism and free speech.

It protects the rights of the vulnerable and the innocent. If this system is implemented, the country should have confidence that the terrible suffering of innocent victims like the Dowlers, the McCanns and Christopher Jefferies should never be repeated.

My message to the press is now very clear – we have had the debate, now it is time to get on and make this system work.”

David Cameron (18/03/13, Commons debate)

“What happened to the Dowlers, the McCanns, Christopher Jefferies and many other innocent people who had never sought the limelight was utterly despicable. It is right that we put in place a new system of press regulation to ensure that such appalling acts can never happen again. We should do that without further delay. The royal charter, which I would like us to take note of now, will help do exactly that.”

“My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and I have today reached cross-party agreement on a royal charter that will help deliver a new system of independent and robust press regulation in our country. As Lord Justice Leveson recommended, we need a system of tough, independent self-regulation that will deliver for victims and meet the principles set out in his report. This system will ensure up-front apologies, million pound fines, a self-regulatory body with independence of appointments and funding, a robust standards code, an arbitration service that is free for victims, and a speedy complaint-handling mechanism. We can put all that in place without the need for statutory regulation.”

Maria Miller (16/04/13, DCMS Committee)

“The Royal Charter in front of you today, Mr Chairman, is the result of nearly four months of discussion with victims’ representatives, expert advice, discussion with the industry and negotiation between the three main political parties. This will mean a strong new system of self-regulation of the press with £1 million fines, prominent apologies, free access to arbitration and a tough Code. However, crucially, it is a system of voluntary self-regulation based upon incentivisation not compulsion.

The Prime Minister was clear from the start that the Conservative Party had serious concerns and misgivings about statutory regulation of the press. Our approach uses a Royal Charter rather than a new press law to underpin press self-regulation, an approach now fully supported by both Labour and the Liberal Democrats. From the start, the Government have been absolutely clear that we fully support the principles set out in Lord Justice Leveson’s report, but anybody who has taken the time to study the report in detail will know that there are areas of practical difficulty and none of the three main parties is now advocating wholesale implementation of this report.

Since the report was published on 29 November last year, our focus has not been whether there needs to be change, it is clear that the status quo is not an option, but rather we have been concerned on how best to achieve these principles of voluntary self-regulation using incentives, not compulsion, as recommended by Lord Justice Leveson, without compromising the vital role that a free and vigorous press has in our British democratic process.”

Oliver Letwin (16/04/13, DCMS Committee)

“We have come as close as possible to having a document that is apolitical, transparent and, within the context of a British constitution that cannot ultimately enshrine things, enshrined. That is going a very long distance to make the point-because it is of enormous precedent value-that we are not saying politicians should govern what is in the press. It is a code established by the press, it is a regulator established by the press, it is a voluntary system; it is not a system that Parliament has legislated into existence.”

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1 Comment

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Michelle Sanicoreply
April 27, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Put all in place without the need for statutory regulation. Impressive article!

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